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Belarus

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Despite few natural resources, Belarus was prosperous when part of the USSR.
After gaining independence in 1991, Belarus adopted market reforms although
most industry remains under government control. Nonetheless, the country retains
a Soviet-style economy, subsidized by Russian gas. Foreign investment is
negligible, since there is little private industry.

In 2011, the government re-pegged the official exchange rate, increased interest
rates and froze prices on basic commodities in an attempt to get bailouts from the
IMF and Russia. None of their actions led to financial assistance.

Belarus remains isolated internationally with strong political links with Russia, which
is the main source of energy. Belarus is an important transit route for Russian gas
going to parts of Western Europe. It is also a major exporter of machinery, chemical
and petroleum products.

President Lukashenko is often referred to as "Europe's last dictator".

Culture Overview

Cultural Essentials

Hierarchical and Egalitarian
Much like Russia, Belarus has an interesting combination of hierarchical
and egalitarian structures. Traditional companies are structured
hierarchically and decision-making authority is limited to those in senior
positions. At the same time, the basic collective nature of the people is
such that the person making a decision takes into account the needs of
their subordinates.

In the workplace, seniority is respected since it demonstrates that someone
has shown the ability to work within the system and establish and maintain
business relationships. Since decision making is generally top-down, the
process can be time consuming.

For the most part, employees do not believe that they are empowered and
they may resist suggestions that they become involved in decision making.
This is not a culture where brainstorming is particularly effective. This is
slowly changing as more Generation Y enter the workforce, since they
strive for empowerment.

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Trust / Relationships
Unlike most Western cultures, trust is not assumed in Belarus. When under
Soviet rule, most neighborhoods had someone who reported on behavior
that was deemed against the state. Despite moving away from
totalitarianism, there is a strong heritage of distrust within the country
today.

Business transactions require mutual trust. For the most part, Belarusians
rely on a close network of family, friends, and co-workers as a shield
against the unpredictability of daily life. Friends provide a vehicle to
circumvent red tape and cut through bureaucracy. They enjoy spending
time with their friends and socializing with them. In business, friendships
are called "svyasi" or connections.

Hospitality
Although they may initially appear somewhat reserved with strangers,
Belarusians pride themselves on being generous and hospitable to guests.
Social occasions revolve around food. It is common to offer visitors
something to eat and a beverage. It is considered rude to eat in front of
another person and not offer them something.

In business situations, hospitality is displayed in the giving of small gifts. It
is, therefore, a good idea to come prepared with an assortment of small
gifts to hand out as needed.

Impact of Generations
Like most former Soviet countries, the generation born after the fall of
Communism are quite different from their parents and grandparents.
Generation Y (born 1983 – 2000) are similar to similar generations around
the world. The main characteristics are:

• Create their own security
• Will sacrifice work-life balance to move up quickly
• Focus on professional development
• Extremely nationalistic
• Confident
• Technologically savvy

Religion

Christianity is the most prominent religious belief, with many people being
either Roman Catholic or Orthodox. In 1990, the Belarusian Orthodox
Church was created as an exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The revival of religion in the post-communist era brought about a revival of
the old historical conflict between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. This

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is compounded by the fact that both denominations are linked to
institutions outside the country.

Before World War II, there were few Protestants; however, there has been
remarkable growth in the intervening time. The Jewish community was
nearly annihilated during World War II, although as with Protestants, the
new era of religious freedom has seen a rebirth of the religion. There are
some Muslims, mostly among the ethnic Tartars.

Public holidays often surround key religious holidays of the Orthodox
Church. Although other holidays are celebrated, they are not generally
public holidays.

Role of Women

The constitution enshrines equality although it may take another generation
to rid the country of cultural stereotypes. The media in Belarus appears to
support the patriarchal view that a woman’s place is in the home. When
they work outside the home, women continue to shoulder primary
responsibility for domestic arrangements.

For the last decade, the government has been working to improve gender
equality. With the 2012 parliamentary elections, 49 women (28.9%) were
elected to the parliament. About 55% of all civil servants are female.

The number of women holding senior level posts in state administration
bodies has grown significantly. Moreover, women constitute over 50% of
the total number of members of non-governmental organizations.

Women in business have not fared as well, although they are making great
strides. Women account for 52% of Belarusian job market. The number of
women with a university education is greater than that of men.
Nonetheless, only 19.2% occupy of managerial positions. Many Belarusian
women with impressive professional experience have failed to obtain
promotions to decision-making positions.

Women tend to cluster (nearly 90% of all jobs) in low-paid jobs and
industries considered to be "female" such as catering, education, medicine,
culture, trade, and services.

View of Foreign Women
Despite the advances women have made, chauvinism remains part of the
business landscape. Businessmen may initially be reluctant to accept a
businesswoman as their equal. They may presume that she is there in an
administrative capacity. When they understand that the businesswoman's
role is to represent her company, they may ask repeated questions about
her credentials and experience before they are willing to conduct business.

Businesswomen may experience sexist comments from men in business

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situations. It is best to ignore such comments because making an issue of
them may destroy the tenuous working relationship.

Tips for Businesswomen
A businesswoman should present herself as sincere, confident, and
professional. If a businesswoman shows signs of weakness or uncertainty,
Belarusian businessmen may refuse to do business with her.

Businesswomen should be assertive at meetings without raising their voice
or appearing overbearing.

It is a good idea to accept compliments and male attention gracefully and
be prepared for a modicum of flirting in the office. Some businessmen may
make comments that would be unacceptable in your country. It is best to
laugh off these comments and not make an issue of them.

Businesswomen are expected to dress with a feminine flair. This is not a
culture where severe business suits should be worn.

It is important for a foreign businesswoman to offer a firm handshake
during the greeting process. Such professionalism makes a good
impression.

Establishing Credibility
A businesswoman should establish her credentials at the outset. Ideally,
this should be done by the person handling the introduction. If not, forward
a brief bio of yourself, including your academic background and
professional accomplishments. Even with this, expect businessmen to ask
questions that they might not ask of a businessman. It is important not to
appear fussed or bothered by what may feel like an interrogation.

Any non-verbal signs that a woman is less than confident in herself will be
translated to mean that the businesswoman is uncertain of her technical
competence.

Titles are important in Belarus since they tell others how to behave towards
you and where to place you relative to themselves—and relative to the
hierarchy. Without a title of manager or above, Belarusians may assume
that the businesswoman does not have a position of authority. If you are a
business traveler, you may wish to invent a "business card title" to facilitate
smoother working relationships.

Expect Belarusians to defer to the men on a team. To avoid this, it is a
good idea to arrange with your team to have certain questions deferred to
you or arrange the seating so you are in a position of authority.

Whenever possible, lead the business discussion when you are part of a
team. Even if all team members are equal, this visible taking charge
enhances your credibility.

Avoid taking the minutes of a meeting as this immediately reduces you to
the role of secretary.

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For the most part.2017. Please keep in mind that not all people from any given culture act the same.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. many Belarusians have little experience with people from other cultures. . Egalitarian vs. The more different a foreigner’s appearance. you need to approach every situation with an understanding of the basic tenets of a given culture and yet remain alert to the specific cultural signals you receive in each situation and adjust your behavior and expectations accordingly. They are designed to help you work and understand people from other cultural backgrounds. As such. it is important that foreigners go out of their way to be open and friendly. Cultural Model. the more attention they will draw and the harder they will need to work to establish connections. Saying she is not may cause her to lose credibility.culturewizard. Foreigners may find themselves approached by locals. They are most comfortable with Caucasians.aspx. 8. Hierarchical The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • How society is structured • How power is allocated or earned http://kpmg.2. we had to make generalizations. Cross Culture Tips The following cultural observations are based on the dimensions in the ICAM169.PrintView Page 5 of 44 A businesswoman should be authorized to make decisions. Belarusians are polite and hospitable. View of Foreigners Belarusians are a conservative people who are eager to meet foreigners. Many Belarusians study foreign languages and look for opportunities to practice them. especially if the local thinks they are from Europe or the USA. Perhaps the most important tip we can provide is that when interacting across cultures. but in order to describe cultural traits. which may not apply in some cases. Outside of Minsk.. Minsk has a growing international community where people from all over mix and mingle..

as well as the individual. • Promotions are often based on a mixture of group and individual performance and achievement. even when credit is primarily due to them. They may be uncomfortable if too much focus is placed on them individually. Formal vs.2. building relationships and entertaining Belarus is a relatively formal culture. http://kpmg. • As a manager or employer. • Decision making may require a good deal of consensus building. Therefore when you interact with people from the Belarus: • People value their role as a family or team member.aspx. you will want to demonstrate a somewhat authoritative leadership style. They will often identify themselves first as part of a group.PrintView Page 6 of 44 • Tolerance for social mobility • How organizations are structured and run • The amount of responsibility and control employees are given Belarus is relatively hierarchical. surnames and honorifics • The appropriateness of discussing personal matters at work • Appropriate ways of meeting people. to the more senior members of the organization. • Be aware that people from different socio-economic backgrounds or different levels of the organization may feel uneasy being invited to the same social or business function. then as an individual. Informal The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance of appearance and demeanor as an indicator of status • The importance of protocol and etiquette • The appropriate use of titles.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • Expect to encounter some bureaucracy in organizations and government. explicit directions regarding responsibilities and decisions. • Individuals do not always feel comfortable taking sole credit for accomplishments. be sensitive to the role of the group. . • Individuals feel a strong sense of responsibility for family members.culturewizard. • If you are on a global team or managing a corporate group or household help. 8. • Show the appropriate level of respect. When working with people from Belarus.. behavior and planning.2017. Instead. you will want to give clear.. you will find following tips helpful: • People appreciate structure in manners. through language and behavior.

They may be uncomfortable if too much focus is placed on them individually. be sensitive to the role of the group.2017. but they understand the need for deadlines and schedules.. • Promotions will be based on a mixture of group and individual performance and achievement. http://kpmg. even when credit is primarily due to them. Instead. then as an individual. Fluid vs. it will be helpful to remember the following tips: • People value their role as a family or team member. as well as the individual.PrintView Page 7 of 44 Group vs. Individual The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The source of an individual's identity and loyalties • The relative importance of the individual versus the group • Whether legal systems will protect the rights of the individual or focus on the group as a whole • Whether individuals prefer to work alone or be part of a group • Whether work teams operate as a seamless entity or as cooperating individuals • The value of individual contributions vs.2. As you interact with Belarusians. teamwork in accomplishing and rewarding business goals • The roles and responsibilities of individuals to other family members • The appropriate levels of self-assertion and self-promotion within a society Belarus is a relatively group-oriented society. • Individuals do not always feel comfortable taking sole credit for accomplishments. schedules • Attitudes towards timekeeping and punctuality • Comfort level with short range vs. longer term planning • The feasibility / appropriateness of assigning set times for social functions or business meetings to start and finish Belarus is a moderately Fluid Time culture. • Decision making may require a good deal of consensus building.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.culturewizard. The following tips will give you clues about how you may best interact with Belarusian colleagues: • Be accepting of the fact that people do not feel a sense of urgency for promptness..aspx. Controlled Time The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel that they can control time • The relative importance of relationships vs. . 8. They will often identify themselves first as part of a group. • Individuals feel a strong sense of responsibility for family members.

• It may be rude to interrupt a colleague who is taking a long time to deliver a message. or personal career advancement.PrintView Page 8 of 44 • Since people have respect for schedules. you should remember the following tips: • Personal identity. education and pursuits outside of the workplace. status and sense of personal accomplishment are often derived from family.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • People can gain status and respect by workplace accomplishments. • Plans are often fluid.aspx. • Social occasions may be used to achieve business objectives.2.culturewizard. sourcing new business.2017. When interacting with Belarusians. and brevity to maintain time schedules is not considered a virtue. Status The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The importance and value attached to professional vs. • Obligations to family and close friends are often viewed as important as professional responsibilities. They may not share the same sense of urgency or ambition about completing business projects. Transactional Relationships The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • What constitutes a relationship • What are the expectations • Whether trust is deemed critical to building social or business relationships • What takes precedence in making a business decision: the people involved or other more objective business criteria http://kpmg. 8.. • Younger workers may expect to be measured on their own achievements. Interpersonal vs. • Employees may see a distinction between work time and personal time although they may also blur those lines with friends and family. personal lives • How status and success are defined by a society • The presence or absence of government-sponsored initiatives relating to family welfare benefits • The source of an individual's identity and self-esteem • Tolerance for blurring the lines between professional and personal lives Belarus is a Moderate Balance-Status Motivation culture. . Balance vs. it is often valuable to seek concurrence from team members when establishing deadlines. • Fluid Time cultures often strive for balance in professional and personal lives. changing frequently and often at the last minute..

PrintView Page 9 of 44 • The pace and degree of formalized rituals in building new relationships • The appropriateness of mixing business and pleasure. 8.. people need context and background information to confirm a shared understanding. the expectation is they will last a long time. • While relationships may take longer to build.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.2017. • Since the entire message is not contained in the words. When you have business or social interactions with Belarusians. and take awhile to establish. speed and the reputation of a competitor. once established. • Verbal eloquence is highly valued. . Direct vs..aspx.culturewizard. • There are expectations that people have of relationship-based behavior.2. they carry an underlying assumption of friendship. relationship-oriented culture. http://kpmg. The following tips will give you clues about how you might handle communication with Belarusian colleagues: • Non-verbal gestures enhance the meaning of the spoken word. which may include going out after work to socialize. personal relationship may take precedence over price. entertaining at one’s home or even inviting someone for the weekend and while these may be seen as casual in your culture. even deferential demeanor. non-verbal communication • The degree of directness or subtlety in the language • The relative importance of contextual versus tactical information in conveying a message • The need to maintain harmony and dignity when communicating • The degree to which a society uses conciseness and clarity versus eloquent language when communicating Belarus is a relatively indirect communication culture. • Take care when making introductions to have a respectful. Indirect The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The relative importance of verbal vs. you will want to remember these points: • The process of relationship building may be more formal and ritualized. or professional and personal lives Belarus is a relatively interpersonal. • Be prepared at social or business functions to be asked some questions that might seem somewhat personal in nature so your colleagues and acquaintances may get to know you better. • In some business situations.

you should remember the following tips: • People in these societies believe they have limited control over their destiny or environment.. Internal The defining characteristics of this dimension are: • The degree to which people feel they control their environment and destiny-or the degree to which they feel their environment and destiny control them • Openness to change and innovation • The preference for rules and structure • Willingness to take risks • The degree to which organizational practices encourage and reward initiative and risk taking. Street names are now changing. Belarusian was made the country's official language.. Country Overview The People Belarus is one of the former republics of the Soviet Union. Belarusian is an Eastern Slavonic language related to both Russian and Ukrainian. The language nearly disappeared under Soviet rule. and Russian was the official language of all business and government transactions. About 80% of schools taught in Russian. When interacting with Belarusians. although its people are ethnically different from the Russians. • Employees expect managers to be strong leaders who care for their staff and take a personal interest in their lives.culturewizard. In 1990. It is generally written in Cyrillic.aspx. people from Belarus may be reluctant to adopt new products or systems without a great deal of research.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. The vast majority of the population is Belarusian with smaller numbers of Russians and other Eastern Europeans. it is a good idea to make periodic checks on progress. • When delegating work to employees.PrintView Page 10 of 44 • Show you are considering the subject thoroughly when a topic is presented. Belarusians are primarily of Slavic origins. and allow failure Belarus is a moderately External Control society. although there is a Roman Belarusian alphabet.2017. • Risk tolerance is often a matter of position. External vs. • Although change may be viewed in a positive light.2. . 8. http://kpmg. with risk tolerance limited to those in decision making positions.

..000 lakes. Ukrainian 1. However. Ukraine to the south. It is a headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The city has a special administrative status in http://kpmg. Russian (official) 70.2017. About 36% of the country is occupied by forests.PrintView Page 11 of 44 and education is shifting its emphasis back to Belarusian history and literature.7%. Jewish. other 2.3%. Polish 3.) Languages: Belarusian (official) 23.9% (2009 est. and Latvia and Lithuania to the northwest.1% (includes small Polish.) Source: The World Factbook Cities & Regions Belarus is a small. There are more than 20. where they have one of the leading reserves in Europe. especially in urban areas. The climate is moderately continental with a mild and humid winter.7%. Russian remains the most widely-spoken language.culturewizard.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. landlocked European country bordered by Poland to the west. hilly flat land. Russian 8. The biggest lake is Naroch. Nationality: Noun: Belarusian(s) Adjective: Belarusian Population: 9.3% (2009 est.4%. Minsk Minsk is the capital and largest city in Belarus.) Ethnic groups: Belarusian 83. Protestant.4%.) Religions: Eastern Orthodox 80%.2%.000 rivers and creeks and about 11.2. Nearly one-fifth of the population lives in the capital city of Minsk. unspecified 3. the most significant of which are potassium salts. unspecified 0. Russia to the east and north. The land is mostly low. other 3. 8.1%. relatively hot summer and rainy autumn. and Muslim) 20% (1997 est. There are approximately 30 kinds of mineral raw materials that are prospected.) Population growth rate: -0.and Ukrainian-speaking minorities).19% (2014 est.608. other (including Roman Catholic. It is situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers. .aspx.058 (July 2014 est.

The city boasts excellent examples of baroque architecture. whose cathedral was demolished after World War II. cultural and scientific center of the Belarus Republic.2. The foremost among modern buildings is the black-domed Orthodox cathedral of St. . a large Mannerist complex. such as the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1642). Government Country name: • Conventional long form: Republic of Belarus • Conventional short form: Belarus • Local long form: Respublika Byelarus' • Local short form: Byelarus' • Former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic Government type: Presidential republic in name. The city is a small industrial center producing ships sailing the local rivers. although in fact a dictatorship Capital: Minsk Independence: 25 August 1991 (from Soviet Union) Legal system: Civil law system http://kpmg..culturewizard. Nearly 80% of the city was destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt in the 1950s in accordance with the designs preferred by Stalin. the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul (1613) and the Maryinsky Cathedral. The two main sights can be found along the river—the Assumption Cathedral of the monastery of the Greyfriars (1712-30) with a campanile from 1817 and the Jesuit collegium (1635-48). The city is renowned for both its natural beauty and as the center of the Belarusian Polesye. Pinsk Pinsk is south of Minsk and the second-largest city in the Brest region.. 8. architectural and cultural monuments.PrintView Page 12 of 44 Belarus and is also the administrative centre of Minsk voblast (province) and Minsk raion. Theodore.2017. political.aspx. It has an abundance of historical. which has been rebuilt to its original shape. Minsk is the major economic. a low-lying land of waters and mists.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Large Soviet-Bloc style buildings make up a large portion of the city.

com A comprehensive directory of Belarusian government web sites.S. Background Note: Belarus http://www.aspx.overview: As part of the former Soviet Union.gov/ An online directory of leaders updated weekly by the Central Intelligence Agency.. family and labor) have been revised and came into force in 1999 or 2000 Source: The World Factbook More Government Information Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members in Belarus https://www.cia. About 80% of all industry remains in state hands. Belarus exported refined oil products at market prices produced from Russian crude oil purchased at a steep discount. though it imports most of its crude oil and natural gas from Russia at prices substantially below the world market. Economic output. A few banks. creation of institutions of private property. criminal procedure. which had been privatized after independence. energy inefficient.PrintView Page 13 of 44 Note: Nearly all major codes (civil.. including privatization of smaller state enterprises and some service sector businesses. The country also has a broad agricultural base which is largely inefficient and dependent on government subsidies. 8.culturewizard.gksoft. .state. Department of State. After an initial burst of capitalist reform from 1991-94. revived in the mid-2000s due to the boom in oil prices. and development of entrepreneurship. it retained this industrial base . Belarus' economic development greatly slowed.gov An overview of government and political conditions published by the U. Economy Currency: Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR) Economy . and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets . and foreign investment has been hindered by a climate hostile to business. though aging industrial base.2.which is now outdated. Belarus had a relatively well-developed. which had declined for several years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.2017. were renationalized.following the breakup of the USSR. State banks account for 75% of the banking sector. Links to Government Web Sites http://www. In http://kpmg.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Belarus has only small reserves of crude oil. criminal. civil procedure.

radios.2017. earthmovers. Germany 4. nevertheless. In mid-December 2014. and eventually led to a near three-fold devaluation of the Belarusian ruble in 2011. trucks. Russia began a process of rolling back its subsidies on oil and gas to Belarus. Russia announced a new loan for Belarus of up to $2 billion for 2014.2%.2.3%. refrigerators Exports .5%.PrintView Page 14 of 44 late 2006.culturewizard. a financial crisis began. the Belarusian currency lost more than 60% of its value.1% (2015) Source: The World Factbook More Economic Information Banking Industry in Belarus http://www. Ukraine 9. triggered by government directed salary hikes unsupported by commensurate productivity increases. However.. televisions. 8. when Russia stopped the export of all subsidized oil to Belarus save for domestic needs.org Financial information from the International Monetary Fund. motorcycles. In December 2013. a $1 billion loan from the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank. Industries: Metal-cutting machine tools. Belarus agreed to sell to Russia its remaining shares in Beltransgaz. Russia and Belarus reached a deal to restart the export of discounted oil to Belarus. in exchange for reduced prices for Russian natural gas. Belarus and the IMF http://www. the Belarusian natural gas pipeline operator. In 2011.partners: Russia 39%. Receiving part of a $3 billion loan from the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) Bail-out Fund. before calming in 2013. textiles. the plunge in global oil prices heavily reduced revenues. .aspx. as the rate of inflation reached new highs in 2011 and 2012. Belarus continued to import Russian crude oil at a discounted price. Little new foreign investment has occurred in recent years. In 2015.by Financial and statistical data from the National Bank of Belarus. structural economic shortcomings were aggravated by the devaluation of the Russian ruble and triggered a near 40% devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. http://kpmg. Notwithstanding foreign assistance. the Belarusian economy continued to struggle under the weight of high external debt servicing payments and trade deficit.imf. In December 2010.nbrb. synthetic fibers.. Netherlands 4. with under one month of import cover. tractors. Belarus entered 2015 with stagnant economic growth and reduced hard currency reserves. In November 2011.5 billion sale of Beltransgaz to Russian state-owned Gazprom helped stabilize the situation in 2012.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. UK 11. fertilizer. The crisis was compounded by an increased cost in Russian energy inputs and an overvalued Belarusian ruble. and the $2. Tensions over Russian energy reached a peak in 2010.

Russia 1. Ukraine 1. southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine Geography .. Lithuania 640 km.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.900 sq km Water: 4.aspx. .000 lakes Source: The World Factbook History Overview http://kpmg.111 km Coastline: 0 km (landlocked) Climate: Cold winters. cool and moist summers.PrintView Page 15 of 44 Geography & Climate Location: Eastern Europe.culturewizard. east of Poland Area: Total: 207. Poland 418 km.642 km Border countries: Latvia 161 km..2017.312 km. transitional between continental and maritime Terrain: Generally flat and contains much marshland Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m Highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m Natural hazards: N/A Environment .600 sq km Land: 202.700 sq km Land boundaries: Total: 3.note: Landlocked. glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11. 8.2.current issues: Soil pollution from pesticide use.

• Belarus declared its independence as the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.. and Russia.2017. and thousands more were sent to labor camps in Siberia. The Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in 1919. Slavs and Vikings originally settled in current day Belarus. the Red Army invaded.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • The Treaty of Riga divided Belarus between Poland and Russia in 1921. The Belarusian SSR becomes founding member of the USSR the following year. Belarusian again became the official language of the country. despite being a Soviet republic. • Belarus was a founding member of the United Nations in 1946. Minsk became the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States. • Belarus was heavily affected by the fall-out from the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl in 1986.. The capital city of Minsk was damaged severely. • Alexander Lukashenko became president in 1994. • An agreement on economic union was signed with Russia in 1996. the portion of western Belarus that had belonging to Poland was joined into the Soviet Republic. He introduced policies designed to strengthen ties with Russia.000 years. Belarus then became part of the Russian Empire. The president's powers were widened. Lithuania. In 1944. but over time the territory was conquered and reoccupied by neighboring powers including Poland. Belarus was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the 13th and 14th centuries. 8. • About 20% of agricultural land was contaminated and became unusable. near the end of World War I. • In 1941 Nazi Germany invaded.000 people were executed in Belarus. spewed 70% of its fallout onto Belarus. following the dismemberment of Poland at the end of the 18th century. Details emerged as to the full extent of executions during the Stalin period. The Grand Duchy was united with Poland in the 1500s.PrintView Page 16 of 44 • The country's strategic location made it into a battleground for more than 1. He signed a friendship and cooperation pact with Russia the following year. One-quarter of the population has endured chronic exposure to radiation fallout since the accident. There were unsuccessful protests. • During the 1930s. National referenda resulted in a new flag (almost identical to the former Soviet republic) and the restoration of Russian as an official language. Belarus suffered from Stalin's purges against intellectuals and political opponents. • In 1988 the Belarusian Popular Front was formed as part of nationalist revival prompted by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of 'openness'. the Soviet Red Army drove the Germans out of Belarus. Over 100. Over one million people were killed during the occupation.culturewizard. • In 1918. dashing their aspirations for independence. located just across the border in Ukraine. The effects are expected to continue well into the 21st century.aspx. . In 1990. Belarus proclaimed its independence as the Belarusian National Republic.2. At the end of the war. This was agreed to as a concession to Soviet requests for greater voting power within the assembly. At the end of the war. President Lukashenko increased his powers and extended his term in http://kpmg. The nuclear reactor.

protesters against Lukashenko signed a pro-democracy manifesto "Charter '97". which prompted the USA to lift some sanctions. • Food rationing was imposed in 1998 when the value of the Belarusian ruble was halved. The government raised interest rates and froze prices on staple foods.2.aspx. • In June. • In August 2007. Russia again cut electricity supplied due to unpaid bills. Russia cut oil supply over a disagreement about taxation and siphoning. .com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Belarus' observer status in the Council of Europe was suspended. leading to panicked buying of basic goods. Russia agreed to sell Belarus gas at 60% below the price charged to other European countries.. http://kpmg. which was conditional on certain reforms.. Russia announced it would reduce gas supplies by 50% due to unpaid debt. the government threatened to cut electricity supplies to Russia because of a disagreement over Russian oil. • Belarus asked the IMF for an emergency loan in June 2011 due to their balance of payments crisis. • In November 2011.PrintView Page 17 of 44 office. • Parliamentary elections were re-run in 13 constituencies where voter turnout in October 2000 was too low. opposition leader Mikhail Marinich was jailed for allegedly stealing office equipment. This led to a compromise over the amount of duty-free oil Russia would supply Belarus. • In January 2010. the government put more than 30 political activists on trial over the December protests. These restrictions were lifted in 2003 after the OSCE were re-admitted. The USA and 14 EU countries imposed travel bans on Lukashenko and several government ministers due to Belarus' poor human rights record. President Lukashenko closed the pipeline carrying Russian gas to Europe in response to Russia cutting supplies to Minsk. • In 2004. Russia's supplies began again once the outstanding debt was paid. • The following year there was a diplomatic argument with Poland over the treatment of ethnic Poles accused of stirring up unrest in order to overthrow President Lukashenko. Moscow threatened to cut gas supplies. Belarus signed an accord with Russia to merge their currencies and tax systems.2017. Thousands demonstrate in Minsk against Lukashenko. 8. The next month. In August. thus forcing a new deal that more than doubled prices and phased in additional increases over four years. Belarus and Russia ratified their union treaty.culturewizard. The following year. He declared the charge to be politically motivated. if the Russian monopoly Gazprom took full ownership of the Belarussian gas pipeline company Beltranshaz. The dispute ended when Russia agreed to cut the oil duty. Belarus officials declared the votes valid. Russia offered a bailout. • Sanctions in March 2008 led to the mutual withdrawal of ambassadors in the USA and Belarus. • Despite EU protests. several dissidents were freed from prison. • In December 2006. In May. the government expelled 11 American diplomats over the issue of human rights. Lukashenko rejected Russian proposals for new union under the Russian constitution with single government and single parliament. • In 2002.

Greet and say good-bye to each person individually.PrintView Page 18 of 44 • In August 2012. usually starting with the women and then moving on to the men in a rough approximation of age order. At parties or other social gatherings your hosts will introduce you. At first meeting. Belarusians are warm and friendly during greetings.2017. women offer each other a handshake. He also fired the air defense and border guard commanders in addition to expelling many European ambassadors. starting with the left and alternating. For the most part. Country Information Embassies Public Holidays Social Etiquette Meeting People The typical greeting is a warm handshake. Women who know each other well greet each other with three kisses on the cheek. http://kpmg.. Men and women seldom shake hands with each other. . similar to the English "hi" are "Pryvitanne!" in Belarusian and "Privet!" in Russian.. proceeding from oldest to youngest.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. how are you?) if addressed in Belarusian or "Zdravstvuite Kak pozhivaete?" when addressed in Russian. Friends and close acquaintances may refer to each other by their first name and patronymic. President Lukashenko replaced the foreign minister with a crony. which may become something of a bear hug or a hug and a kiss with friends. • The following month.2. The handshake between men is very firm. people use all three names. European observers agreed that the elections were not handled properly.culturewizard. 8. In formal situations. major opposition parties boycotted elections because they believed they were rigged. The most common greeting is "Dobry dzen'! Yak-spravy" (Hello. More informal versions.aspx.

name days.2. flowers. as well as days of significance in a person's life. or a bottle of wine of vodka to the hosts. • It is best to avoid giving red flowers unless you want to signify romantic intentions. or "ivna" for a female.2017. The typical naming convention is: • First name: the person's given name. Entertaining How Belarusians Entertain Belarusians pride themselves on being hospitable and social. Despite the fact that their homes may be small and cramped.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.PrintView Page 19 of 44 Naming Conventions Belarusian names generally include a patronymic.aspx. • Thanks for the gift may be effusive since thank you notes are not part of the culture. • Flowers should only be given in odd numbers since even numbers are used at funerals.. • Middle name: a patronymic version of the father’s first name formed by adding "-vich" or "-ovich" for a male and "-avna". • Gifts are generally opened when received..culturewizard. Gift Giving Despite the economic hardships within the country. bring chocolates. • A small gift for the children is appreciated. The son of David would have a patronymic of Davidovich while the daughter’s patronymic would be Davidovna. The importance is derived from the act of giving something. • Gifts do not need to be elaborately wrapped. It is not the value or cost of the gift that matters. a version of the father's first name as the middle name. religious holidays. The one exception is if there are so many flowers that it is not easy to count the number of stems. "-ovna". 8. cake or pastries. Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they are permitted under company policy): • If you are invited to a Belarusian home for a meal. Belarusians often entertain in their homes since it is more economical than doing so in a http://kpmg. since this symbolizes the strength of the relationship. • Last name: the family or surname. Belarusians often give gifts to friends and family for birthdays. .

• Table manners are Continental -.culturewizard. • Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start.. • Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. Asking "are you sure?" allows the hostess to accept your offer. When in doubt.hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. • Dressing well demonstrates respect for the hosts. invitations are extended verbally.2017. • Thank you notes are not common. "Sardechna zaprashayem!" is the traditional expression used when welcoming guests. watch what others are doing and emulate their behavior. • Keep your hands visible when eating. If you are invited to a Belarusian house: • Remove your outside shoes before entering the house. • Praising each dish will please the hostess. • Do not refuse an offer of food or beverage.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.aspx. follow the lead of your hosts. Many Belarusians dislike waste while others see leaving food on the plate as an indication that their hospitality was generous.PrintView Page 20 of 44 restaurant. . • Whether you must finish everything on your plate is a personal preference rather than a cultural nuance. • You will often be urged to take second helpings.2. For the most part. • Do not ask for a tour of the house. • Meals are often served family-style. You will be shown the public areas. the stricter the protocol. You may be given a pair of slippers to wear indoors. You may send a small gift to your hosts the following day to demonstrate your gratitude for their hospitality. The more formal the occasion. • Try everything.. This may be turned down out of politeness. Refusing a dish is considered very rude. • Do not discuss business unless the Belarusian initiates the conversation. • Arrive on time or no more than 15 minutes later than invited. Table Manners Table manners are generally casual. http://kpmg. • The oldest or most honored guest is generally served first. Toasting Toasting is part of the culture and generally occurs when three or more people share a meal. 8. Doing so may be interpreted as a rebuff of the person. When in doubt. Wrists should rest on the edge of the table.

Tipping in restaurants and cafes frequented by tourists and expatriates is generally in the 10% range. • It is a custom to finish a bottle once it has been opened. which means to your health. who may return the toast later in the meal. If you do not think you can keep pace. 8. the person extending the invitation usually pays. • Maintain eye contact and finish the vodka in one gulp. • Glasses are filled no more than two-thirds full. simply reciprocate at a later time. Do not argue about the check. • The host gives the first toast. Belarusians expect punctuality for both business and social situations.PrintView Page 21 of 44 • Belarusians can be suspicious of people who do not drink. Arriving late for a business meeting or appointment could be viewed negatively and even impact your credibility. • Most toasts are given with vodka. • The second toast is generally to friends and the third toast to a woman. http://kpmg.culturewizard. usually to the guest of honor. . Many restaurants have floor shows and many have dancing. If invited to a meal at a restaurant... however.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. while tipping up to 5% in smaller restaurants is accepted. it is best to state at the outset that you have a medical condition that prevents you from drinking. In social situations you may be granted a 15-minute grace period. which is where you should leave your coat. • You should not refill your own glass. It is a good idea to apologize. Belarusians do not generally split the bill among the diners.2017. • Restaurants: 10% • Porters: $1-$2 per bag • Taxis: 10% Approach to Time For the most part. • Do not clink your glass with others during a toast if you are not drinking an alcoholic beverage.2. It is considered rude to hang your coat on the back of your chair. Most restaurants have a cloakroom. Dining Out Tipping has become more prevalent in recent years.aspx. Tipping The following tipping hints are guidelines. • A common toast is "na zdo ro vie". • Raise your glass and clink it with every other raised glass. You can find more explicit information on restaurant tipping in the Dining Out section above.

and sports. Credit cards are not accepted in many shops and restaurants. Other Situations Belarusians pride themselves on being hospitable. Belarusians pride themselves on being tolerant. you will have to put those purchases in a locker. Do not back away or the Belarusian will simply move closer and you may find yourself boxed into a corner. Therefore.culturewizard. Chernobyl. 8. Supermarkets charge for flimsy plastic bags that easily break. • Men help women on with their coats. face them as you walk past.. Belarusian men do not require a great deal of space between speakers. it is a good idea to come equipped with your own shopping bags. until someone has done this to you.2..2017. However. . the economy of politics. Many men still display old-world courtesy towards women: • Men stand when a woman enters a room. the space bubble tends to be wider. If you go to a shop with items purchased elsewhere. laid back. If you must pass in front of people seated at the theatre. For the most part. When speaking among themselves. and non-aggressive. • Men carry packages. it is a good idea to telephone before dropping in unannounced. Men do not make prolonged eye contact with a woman unless they have a strong personal relationship.PrintView Page 22 of 44 Conversation Topics Belarusians are warm and hospitable people who are often very interested in learning about other countries. Maintaining eye contact while conversing is important since it demonstrates sincerity. • Men open doors for women. Do not discuss World War II. they tend to accepting. When men and women converse. It is rude to show them your back. literature. Good topics of conversation include art.aspx. http://kpmg.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. They frequently visit friends without an invitation. travel. Younger people may be conversant in English.

com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. a hybrid language. • Do not use the OK sign (thumb and forefinger in a circle). • Do not shake your fist at a person. 8. • Do not whistle inside a building. Communication Communication Essentials For the most part. However.2. Although they generally say what they mean. due to their preference to avoid conflict. they will not hesitate to be extremely direct in stating their position. • Do not put your feet on seats or on the table. It is quite common for someone to greet a friend in Belarusian and continue the conversation in Russian. While listening.PrintView Page 23 of 44 Faux Pas Keep in mind the following behaviors while in the Belarus due to the many superstitions: • Do not shake hands across the threshold of a door. Belarusian dominates in rural areas. simply an acknowledgement that they have heard what you said. Since both Belarusian and Russian are spoken.aspx. Once they have explored the global perspective. "trasyanka" has developed. they are ready to delve into the details.culturewizard. Belarusians prefer to discuss information by starting with a broad overview. most Belarusians strive to present their message in a sensitive way.. While direct communication is valued. The direct communication style can sound like a command when a Belarusian asks for something. Belarusians are not openly emotive when speaking. business is conducted with minimal social pleasantries. Belarusians are reluctant to tell a person directly if they disagree with something they have said. if they become angry or indignant. Key Words/Phrases Belarusian has been the official language of Belarus since 1990. . This is not necessarily meant as agreement. Belarusians make direct eye contact and may nod their head. Before http://kpmg. For the most part.. they may interrupt the speaker. If they require clarification. Russian is primarily spoken in cities.2017. • It is considered impolite to sit with your legs spread apart.

http://www.com Several short videos on basic Russian vocabulary.PrintView Page 24 of 44 then the country spoke Russian.aspx.com Short video featuring key phrases in Russian.youtube. English Belarusian Russian Yes Dy Da No He Nyet Hello Vitayu Zdravstvujte Good morning Dobray ranitsy Dobroe utro Pleased to meet you Pryiemna paznajomicca Prijatno poznakomit'sa How are you? Jak mayeciesia? Kak požyvajete Excuse me Daruytsye Izvinite Thank you Dziakuy Spasiba Goodbye Da pabachen'nya Do svidanija Spoken Key Phrases Belarusian http://www.com Several short videos featuring lessons on key phrases in Russian. and most people still speak Russian or Ukrainian as well as Belarusian. A few speak Polish or Yiddish.2.culturewizard. Language Related Videos Russian http://www. http://www.2017.com The Belarusian alphabet. useful phrases and other information about Belarusian. Belarusian is generally used for business. useful phrases and other information about Russian. . 8.. the translation must be exact. rather than what the translator thinks each party wants to hear.youtube. Using Translators Take care in selecting a translator and develop an early understanding of what you expect--specifically. Russian http://www. To be on the safe side you may want to meet with the translator prior to your appointments so that the person learns your accent and can be http://kpmg. pronunciation guide.omniglot.. pronunciation guide.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.omniglot.youtube.com The Russian alphabet.

Eye contact is considered a sign of sincerity. The conversation will end with a brief summary or conclusion. In general.PrintView Page 25 of 44 exposed to any technical or non-familiar terms that may be used.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. 8. it is important to explain who you are and the company you represent as well as any mutual connections you might have and the reason for the contact. you may include non business-related subjects. Belarusians are not emotive speakers. If the relationship is already established. Mail & Telephone Letter/Email Written communication should be direct and maintain a degree of formality. Belarusians do not require a great deal of personal space when speaking to someone of the same gender. Once a relationship develops. including their patronymic.. Have your translator explain to you the most elementary of basic courtesies. . Since there is not a pre- existing relationship.2017. Developing a thorough relationship with your translator enables them to argue your points with a level of confidence they might not otherwise have. The space bubble increases when speaking with a member of the opposite sex. or discuss more familiar topics..2. Address the letter to the person's full name. Non-Verbal Language In general. Presentations Handouts http://kpmg. Telephone The telephone is used to maintain relationships and to relate simple information. you can expect to engage in small talk for 5-10 minutes. although they may greet close friends with a bear hug or three kisses. When writing to a company for the first time.culturewizard. you can ask how the family is. the initial letter should be succinct.aspx.

• Avoid fancy gimmicks in visual presentations as they detract from the material. Body of the Presentation http://kpmg. and technical data as they may be requested. • State your credentials at the outset so your audience understands your expertise.. • Provide a brief history of your company and your products or services. facts. • Greet each member of the audience as they arrive.PrintView Page 26 of 44 • It is a good idea to have handouts in Russian. • To emphasize a point. • Use diagrams when possible. 8. • Make eye contact with your audience.culturewizard. • Handouts should include facts and figures in the same order as the presentation.2. • May interrupt to ask questions during the presentation. . do not focus entirely on one member. • You may ask the audience to turn off their mobile phones. • Analyze the current situation. Opening the Presentation Welcome the audience. such behavior is seen as unprofessional. Presentation Slides/PowerPoint • Presentation materials should be in Russian. • However. • Do not open with a joke or humorous anecdote. • Slides must include detailed data.aspx.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • Demonstrate a keen understanding of the subject. including a historical overview.. • Clearly state the purpose of the presentation.2017. They should supplement and reinforce what is said. intersperse charts and graphs. • Be prepared with details. • Handouts should include background data or charts. Audience • May not arrive on time. to ensure everyone has the same contextual understanding. Presenter • Check in advance to determine if you will need an interpreter. the main points and agenda may be distributed at the start. • Avoid phrases that imply the speaker has an emotional tie to the information. • Avoid making exaggerated claims and hyperbole. which in turn is seen as being an expert. • Speaking well denotes education. • It is customary to provide printed materials at the end of the presentation. • Appear warm and approachable so you do not seem all-business. which may not be understood.

Closing the Presentation • Clearly elucidate the conclusion and how the key points lead to it.2. Time http://kpmg. • Include implementation plans that cover all eventualities. demonstrate the qualities of a product or service and explain why it will be an asset. leading zeroes are used. month and year format with either periods or slashes between each number. The year is written in four digits. clearly state what challenges exist and how your company plans to deal with them. • Use A/Vs. • Emphasize that you have considered the local bureaucracy and detail how this can be circumvented. • Do not gloss over potential problems or challenges. Be ready to answer them. dates are generally written in the day. you may want to spell out the name of the month. explain in detail why the change is necessary and how it will benefit them. Date/Time Date In Belarus. This leaves no ambiguity as to what is the day and what is the month. • Include color brochure and samples of your company's products. • When presenting a solution.. the supply chain. State what challenges exist and how your company has successfully dealt with them in other situations. If the day or month is less than 10.culturewizard. • Do not emphasize "new".07.. • Clearly state what the audience can expect to gain.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Some multinational organizations adopt the date format used in their headquarter country. emphasize production. 2011 could be written 09. . and logic. facts. • Then. • Expect questions to be insightful.2017. whiteboards or flip charts to distill complex material into digestible packets of information. • Thank the audience. • If presenting a change.aspx.PrintView Page 27 of 44 • When presenting a product. support available and marketing plan. begin with a very clear and thorough analysis of the problem.2011 or 09/07/2011. instead. • Leave time at the end of the presentation for a Q&A session. Example: July 9. 8. • Emphasize empirical evidence. To ensure there is no confusion.

Thus.culturewizard. • Academic titles may be used in business. although they may use the 12-hour clock when speaking. Business Attire The way a businessperson dresses conveys their professional image and their respect for the people with whom they conduct business. • Handshakes are generally firm between men. what we report is the conservative approach to business attire for a http://kpmg. "-ovna". The 12-hour clock divides the day into two periods (midnight to noon and noon to midnight). • Most business colleagues refer to each other by first name and patronymic. Professional titles are seldom used.2017. 2 o'clock in the afternoon would be 14:00 in the 24-hour clock. • Maintain eye contact during the greeting. each with 12 hours.. • Present your card so the Russian side is readable by the recipient. including the patronymic.PrintView Page 28 of 44 The 24-hour clock is a timekeeping convention where the time of a day is the number of hours since midnight. . (Middle name which is a version of the father’s first name formed by adding "-vich" or "-ovich" for a male and "-avna".) • When using someone's complete name. • It is common to repeat your name while shaking hands. 8.2.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • Have one side of your business card translated into Russian.aspx. As such.. or "ivna" for a female. Business Cards • Business cards are exchanged without ritual. Belarusians generally communicate in writing using the 24-hour clock. the honorific title is not used. Business Protocol Meeting & Greeting • Shake hands with everyone upon arriving and leaving.

2. Gifts Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure they comply with company policy): • Business gifts are not part of the culture because they can be misinterpreted as a bribe or indicate corruption. Some industries and companies may have less stringent requirements. • Belarusians often drink a great deal when entertaining and will expect you to keep pace. • Business attire is conservative.PrintView Page 29 of 44 country. • Women should wear an elegant. • Men should wear dark-colored conservative business suits. • Business may be discussed. it should be something small and be given at the second or third meeting. • Men's shirts need not be white.. rather than becoming inebriated. If you cannot keep pace.. 8. you are better off not drinking and claiming doctors orders.culturewizard. • If you choose to give a gift. • Shoes should be highly polished. Business Entertaining • Business meals are used to build personal relationships. • The honored guest should return the host’s toast later in the meal. The traditional belief is that businessmen who wear light colors are unreliable. • Gifts may feature your company logo. Before embarking on an international trip. and individual organization culture.2017.aspx. • Do not take a sip of your drink until the host makes the first toast. Belarusian businessmen often wear dark-colored shirts. not the first. http://kpmg. however. • Women should avoid wearing bright colors. event. Appropriate attire varies within countries based on location. yet understated dress or business suit. • Toasting is an important element of Belarusian entertainment. wait for your business associates to raise the subject. .com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. it is generally a good idea to check with the local office to determine what the appropriate dress code is in a specific location.

They call the meeting. Decisions are not usually made at meetings. • Role of Leader: Leaders are clearly in charge of the meeting. make any opening remarks. Business Hours • Offices: 9:00am-6:00pm Monday to Friday • Banks: 9:00am-5:00pm Monday to Friday • Shops: 9:00am-8:00pm Monday to Saturday Business Meetings Meeting Essentials • Structure: Agendas may be used. knowing the title of everyone who will be attending allows the Belarusians to have people at similar levels available. although the way they are handled is a matter of personal preference. If this is the first time you have met with a Belarusian company. it is a good idea to have the intermediary who scheduled the appointment provides brief business bios of your company who will be attending a meeting as well as an overview of your business proposal.culturewizard. • The person extending the invitation usually pays. • Spouses are rarely included in business meals. set the pace. Belarusians like to know something about the people with whom they will be meeting. What is in your glass should be finished in one gulp. Meetings are relatively formal and adhere to protocol and deference to hierarchy. they are made by the leader. quite often without reference to what has been discussed at the meeting.PrintView Page 30 of 44 • Most toasts are given with vodka. • Purpose: Meetings are a time to discuss information and allow stakeholders to state their opinion.2017.. • If you are hosting the meal. make payment arrangements in advance to avoid haggling over the check.. 8. it must be finished. http://kpmg. • Who participates/speaks: Lower level or technical staff speak only to those at their level and respond to questions from their superiors. facilitate the meeting. . • Who attends: People at the same level as the foreign team. set the agenda.2. • Once a bottle is opened. and decide who may speak.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Since this is a hierarchical culture.aspx.

Scheduling Meetings Appointments are necessary and should be made several weeks in advance. if given. Since your local counterparts view the first few meetings as a good time to get to know you as a person. . at times.2. It is often difficult to schedule meetings during August since many people are on vacation. Belarusians understand that Westerners are slaves to the clock.2017. Their behavior may. If you have not done business with a specific company previously. Leaders see themselves as in control of the meeting. are at best approximations. border on the autocratic.. This is a good time to discuss what differentiates your company and why the Belarusians should want to do business with you. You should arrive at meetings on time. The most senior person from your team should offer brief introductory remarks. Confirm the meeting the day before in case the meeting has been cancelled. 8. even if they are not. Many people take off a few days surrounding Orthodox Christmas (January 7th). The first week of May has several public holidays so it is best avoided as well.aspx.. Agendas http://kpmg. Do not expect to reach decisions at the first meeting. Meetings are frequently interrupted.PrintView Page 31 of 44 The most senior-ranking Belarusian often makes a welcoming speech. It is common for several side conversations that have nothing to do with the topic of the meeting to be carried on during the meeting. Ending times.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Whether or not the Belarusian you are meeting arrives on time is a matter of personal preference rather than a cultural nuance.culturewizard. Consider it a fact- finding meeting and realize that you and the company you represent are one of the facts. Meetings generally run longer than anticipated. you may need to use an intermediary to schedule the initial meeting. they will evaluate what you say as what you don’t say. Any attempt to move at a pace different than that of the leader will meet with resistance.

com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. In general. if there are items that you want discussed. Conducting Meetings The Belarusians are often referred to as "the most patient Slavs".aspx.2017. it is a good idea to forward them in advance of the meeting and include background material. • They may be followed or serve as springboards to further discussions. Belarusians speak softly and are not emotive communicators. • Since Belarusians do not like surprises. • If the discussion moves off the agenda. It is vital that you establish a partnership based on trust. if possible. 8.PrintView Page 32 of 44 • The way agendas are handled is more a matter of personal preference than culture. It is important to conduct business with decision makers rather than gatekeepers.. That is the role of the leader. • Companies that work in the international arena may be more comfortable working from an agenda. .2. Do not remove your suit jacket unless invited to do so.culturewizard. They have a strong sense of tolerance and prefer to settle problems through negotiation rather than conflict. If they do not believe that their experience level is comparable to those they are meeting with.. Management Styles Relationships Relationships are extremely important in Belarus. it is a good idea to make the right contacts before you arrive in the country or have an intermediary make the appointment for you. you may wish to moderate them. The key to this is often in finding the http://kpmg. They prefer to communicate face-to-face rather than through impersonal vehicles such as writing or the telephone. Belarusians may adpot an arrogant posture to mask their lack of comfort. • Agendas may be changed without notice. Therefore. do not attempt to re-focus the discussion. If you tend to use sweeping gestures when speaking.

Belarusians emphasize personal relationships. they generally relax and begin to build trust.culturewizard. this person can help you find your way through the serpentine bureaucracy. Your partner should have a good reputation and a wide-range of business contacts within the country. it will be important that you establish your technical credentials early. they would be: • Informal Style • Group Interests • Hierarchical structure http://kpmg. Generation Ys are more willing to accept people who are all business. They will judge you on your clothing. If you change your representative or members of the negotiating team. Relationships are typically with a person rather than with the company they represent. . Patience is essential.. once they believe that you are interested in a long-term commitment. Selecting the appropriate contact should not be made lightly.aspx. Management Essentials If you were to think about the most important cultural attributes that you will encounter in business in Belarus. However.2. and the hotel where you stay. This is a culture where it is important to develop a network of people who you know and trust. Impact of Generations on Relationships Unlike their predecessors. In addition to handling introductions and paving the way. Relationships are the linchpin in business transactions.PrintView Page 33 of 44 proper business partner. Perhaps because they have not lived with the yoke of Communism. Belarusians are aware of status indicators. There are many agencies in Belarus that can assist you in this endeavor. the quality of your accessories. If you are young. since much business in the private sector is based on informal contacts.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Business relationships may need to be developed in each major city and you may need a different partner in each city. 8.. Therefore. they do not need to develop strong personal relationships to the same degree as older generations. the relationship building process will begin anew. it is best to err on the side of formality when you first make contact. They can be somewhat suspicious of strangers and often treat them with an initial reserve. Sincerity is crucial as it is required to build trust. Relationships are solidified in after-hours socializing. and trust is needed to build a relationship. Bureaucracy tends to be slow and complicated.2017.

Risk Tolerance Belarus has a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is possible to make changes. Since most employees do not want to let down their co-workers..2017. provide background data and detail that can be analyzed and explain how the solution has worked successfully elsewhere. especially when dealing Baby Boomers or with the government. so many of your dealings will involve the government at some time. deadlines are viewed more as guidelines. The country possesses great potential and can boast that over half the population has some university experience. Employees do not work extra hours since they are generally not paid for them.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. Despite the positive changes in the business culture. In the government sector. although this is beginning to change with Generation Y.culturewizard.aspx. more entrepreneurial companies and http://kpmg. business remains quite bureaucratic. who can be quite entrepreneurial. It is important to be aware of your colleagues’ position and rank so that you treat them with the appropriate deference. planning and evaluation have gone into the recommendation for the change. It is important to demonstrate that serious thought. Belarus has been slow to privatize industries. 8. If a deadline must be met. There are a large number of offshore and IT companies in Minsk. they generally keep everyone advised if schedules slip off target. .. Schedules & Deadlines Belarusians may expect there to be some give and take on schedules and deadlines. especially when dealing with the government.2. Belarus has become more individualistic in the last fifteen years. At the same time. one way to ensure this occurs is to explain the repercussions that will ensue if the timetable is not met. The economy is in transition and the way risk is viewed may depend upon the most senior person in the organization. When presenting a change. Formerly a collectivist country. but it can be a slow and cumbersome process. In the private sector. this may be sufficient rationale for them to meet the deadline.PrintView Page 34 of 44 The transition to a free-market economy has brought about many changes in the business culture.

• Provide frequent feedback. Most businesses are extremely hierarchical structure and employees defer to the most senior person.2. . Decisions are reached at various levels within the organization. 8. • Provide opportunities to try new skills and take on new assignments in a protected environment. • Allow them to ignore hierarchy when they want to make a suggestion or ask a question.. This is why networking and building personal relationships is so crucial. although this is generally not the case in technology companies. subordinates are expected to discuss the work process with their manager if they believe that there is a more suitable way to approach the job. Belarusians respect age and rank.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. When offering constructive criticism. This leads to situations where many employees have too little to do and lack motivation. When managing employees Generation Y employees consider the following: • Offer a variety of tasks and projects and increasing responsibility.aspx. In more traditional companies. the management style remains somewhat autocratic. • Listen to their ideas and give them a chance to test new ideas. • Provide clear deadlines and expectations. Subordinates do not publicly challenge their manager.PrintView Page 35 of 44 Generation Y employees may be more willing to put in additional time to meet a reasonable timetable.culturewizard. start with something positive. • Provide ample training and development.. In more Westernized companies. Decision Making Getting things accomplished generally requires knowing the right people rather than knowing more about a particular subject. managers expect subordinates to follow established procedures without question. there is an inherited tendency for many organizations to be over-staffed. For the most part. Decision Making Company Structure Since the government is still involved in nearly 70% of the business. This means that an agreement at one level does not constitute company http://kpmg. • Create opportunities to work on teams.2017. Doing so would be considered disrespectful to the manager. Impact of Generations on Managing Employees The age of employees can materially impact the best way to manage them. Managing Employees In many companies.

clear and visibly in control. Impact of Generations on Team Focus Create opportunities for Generation Y to work in teams. Each level within the company must agree.2. 8.culturewizard. Teamwork and trust are important aspects of successful business relationships.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. in part. Negotiations Personal relationships are important.. While important decisions can take a great deal of time. to the fact that the ultimate decision is made by the most senior person and Belarusians are reluctant to approve something that might later be overturned. Formality is important when negotiating since the culture remains http://kpmg. The leader gains the team's respect by being decisive. therefore they spend a great deal of time developing the relationship. Team Focus The way teams are viewed may be dependent upon both the leader and the team members. Belarusians prefer to deal with those they trust. . This may be due. It is the leader's job to foster a good working relationship within the group. being part of a team expands their business network. The ability of Belarusians to work in teams has led the country to become an IT outsourcing center. Most professionals have university degrees and are comfortable working together to achieve a common goal. it may seem that paperwork takes precedence over decision making.PrintView Page 36 of 44 agreement.2017. Due to the bureaucracy. it can take a great deal of time to develop camaraderie with team members who do not already have a personal relationship.aspx. it is often possible to get agreement on a simple matter relatively quickly. Many foreign businesspeople report that reaching agreement is more difficult lower in the company than it is at higher levels. they may work quite effectively. Since developing personal relationships with coworkers is not important to them. Given the suspicion of strangers that permeates the business environment. If the members can develop good working relationships and believe that they are empowered to take action. The team leader is expected to delegate specific tasks to team members and to follow-up on the progress..

It is a good idea to wait to be invited before sitting down. Business moves at a slow pace. They will not be satisfied unless you concede on a few issues. it is important to use local legal assistance. they will delay even further in an attempt to coerce you into making concessions. Although most negotiations involve a team. .. the most senior Belarusian may be the spokesperson for the local company.aspx.culturewizard. 8. Avoid hard sell tactics or confrontation.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. It may take several visits to accomplish a simple task. Both will harm rather than help your position. They strive to reach concessions. Moving There Advice and Tips for Moving Customs Regulations Entry Requirements Getting Around http://kpmg.PrintView Page 37 of 44 hierarchical.2. Belarusians can be tough negotiators. If you tell the Belarusians that you have a time deadline. Prolonging negotiations is a strategic attempt to wear down the patience of the other side. It is also prudent not to remove your suit jacket without permission.. Most decisions require several layers of approval. The culture is extremely bureaucratic and legislation is serpentine. The highest-ranking Belarusian should be treated with respect and deference. You may want to structure initial offers with this in mind. Be prepared to concede on some things to ensure they feel they have accomplished something. You must be patient. Due to the complicated legal system.2017.

The wise traveler is cautious about hurricanes and earthquakes along with hotel fires.PrintView Page 38 of 44 Getting There Safety & Security Emergency Numbers Emergency Telephone Numbers To reach emergency services from a local phone. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers.culturewizard. dial: Fire 101 Police: 102 Ambulance: 103 Safety Precautions Today.2. pickpockets and spontaneous political demonstrations. dial: Fire 101 Police: 102 Ambulance: 103 Emergency Numbers Emergency Telephone Numbers To reach emergency services from a local phone.. 8. but ordinary crime. Before You Go • Take time to get all of your financial and personal records in order. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings have simply brought all security concerns to our awareness. and what to do in those events. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation. we think of political situations as causing safety concerns. including preparing a will. weather and geographic problems also pose risks. http://kpmg.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.2017.. • Talk with a trusted family member or friend about what types of emergencies might arise in your absence. .aspx.

• Be sure someone knows where you will be and how to contact you in emergencies at all times.. take an extra pair of glasses if you wear them. • Make copies of all of your travel documents (including detailed itinerary with contact numbers) and be sure two people have easy access to them. obtain and make several copies of important emergency company contact numbers to keep and give to all members of your family who might need them. Know exactly where the nearest fire exits are.how to dress. • Hide personal documents. ◦ Find out all the gender-based restrictions and abide by them. don’t be afraid to ask. valuables and other important items. keep your room key.. (Remember to safeguard your passport. • Use the room safe or hotel safe deposit box. • Find out the services your company offers to you in case of emergency. and who to be watchful of. a pair of shoes and some money by your bedside. ◦ Use a hotel known for its security and be sure that whatever type of transportation you use. . • In the event that you might need to leave your room quickly.2. how to act in public. • Travel with a flashlight. where you can go and where to avoid. • Do not display your guest room key unnecessarily. In-Country So many variables go into being safe. Be sure to learn details of your location -. When in comes to your safety. be extremely cautious and circumspect. • Don’t let strangers into your room.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. ◦ Ask hotel concierge or front desk manager to assist you whenever you have questions about your safety. • Be sure you have enough of your prescription medication so you are all right if you cannot get a refill right away. ◦ As a rule.) • Read the fire safety information and know what you would do if you need to evacuate.culturewizard. how to carry yourself.2017.aspx. http://kpmg. your glasses (if necessary). if you wish walking you to your room very late at night or escorting you from a parking lot to the hotel lobby). Seek information from cultural experts and local nationals whom you have confidence in.PrintView Page 39 of 44 • Think about the small (and large) disasters that could occur at home during your absence and be sure there is someone prepared to assist you. Hotel Safety • Know how to call for help AND what to say. and many of them revolve around understanding the specifics of where you are. • Lock your door and do not answer it until you feel comfortable that you know who it is. • Do the same with crucial health documentation. (They will also arrange for you to have help. • Women traveling alone will have different issues depending upon the morés of the society you’re visiting. it is reliable and safe. 8.

For example. contact: Embassies Around the World • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services. • Watch out for pickpockets who will try to distract you in many different ways while taking your money. . Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your government. You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies. • For helpful information: Helpful Tips • If you are living in a high-risk location. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen. • The more you know about your location. be very careful to guard your property at all times. Be sure you have 24-hour hotline numbers and appropriate contacts who can assist you.2017. Even groups of children can be working together to divert your attention while one will steal your money.2. 8. Safety in Your New Home City • Learn about your host country and culture. PDAs and cash are easy targets. but is extremely important so you can understand what may be offensive or negligent behavior.culturewizard. but by identifying sources of local news. your company should have guidelines for your safety. These people are here to help you.aspx. the safer you’ll be. certainly understand written and unwritten laws and codes of conduct..com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. always be sure that close family or friends have accurate contact information so they can find you quickly. • Embassies Around the World • Even if you are living in a relatively safe country. This is not only wise for business and social purposes. • No matter where you live—high risk or low risk countries—today’s world is volatile. reading local papers and telling your local friends to keep you informed.PrintView Page 40 of 44 The following websites offer specific advice for women: • Travel Tips for Women • Best Women's Travel Tips • Her Own Way: A Woman's Safe Travel Tips • Tips for Solo Women Travelers Women Travelers Travel Tips Crowded Situations • When you’re in crowded places. • Use your Embassy.. • Carry as few valuable items with you as possible when you know you’re going to a crowded area. http://kpmg. expensive cameras. and you never know when a potentially dangerous situation can develop. Keep informed—not only with your country’s published data and warnings.

8. Always check to see what services your company may offer to you. contact: Embassies Around the World • Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected for medical emergencies and evacuation services. phone and hours of operation. For example. practicing common sense based upon knowledge of your location will help you. this information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your destination and personal situation.2017. • Be sure you know how to contact (and get to) your country’s Embassy and Consulate wherever you are traveling—you need the location details. You might want to contact: International SOS to see if you qualify for some of their services. Nonetheless. Keeping yourself and your family safe anywhere you go—whether it is an extended trip within hours of your home or a long-term assignment halfway around the world—requires planning and active follow-through. Don’t underplay the importance of understanding what is culturally appropriate—it may help you avoid some difficult situations. Clearly the length of time you spend and the geographic and political profile of the countries you’re living in--or traveling to--will make a difference in your level of preparedness. Prepare For Your Destination • Read about security and safety issues in the countries you’ll be traveling to or living in. . Embassies Around the World http://kpmg.aspx. keep enough cash on hand so you will be all right if there are power failures and ATM machines don’t work. we recommend the following government sites as quite comprehensive and easy-to- understand: Australian Travel Advisories Canadian Travel Advisories UK Travel Advice US Travel Warnings • Read about other precautions you should take for weather.. Emergencies • In an emergency that requires help by your government.com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers.PrintView Page 41 of 44 Security Issues Security is not simply a state-of-mind.2. up-dated information.and geographic-related concerns. such as a lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen. • For the most current. nor is it a stroke of luck..culturewizard. International SOS provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals and companies.

the U. do not pack valuables in your checked luggage. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has in- depth information regarding all regions of the world. read safety literature and be sure you know where emergency exits are located. Be sure you know the words to use in the local language. • For general information when you are en route.PrintView Page 42 of 44 • See if there are any health-related issues in the countries to which you’re traveling. Your interpretation of this guideline needs to be based on local practices and customs. • Be able to answer questions about your luggage and be able to open all suitcases and packages immediately. When they occur.S. If it is lost or stolen. Be sure you know how to call for help in an emergency. 8.culturewizard. • When you’re on the plane or train. quickly walk the other way. and deserted train stations.2. alleys. Find out before you go if it is preferable to hire a private driver and car. if possible. . it is one of the most valuable items you possess--so protect it as you would cash. buses. http://kpmg. independent taxi cabs may pose specific problems. Otherwise. • Avoid areas where you can become a victim of crime. • Use your business address on your luggage tags. En Route • Protect your passport..aspx. computer bags or other luggage unattended at any time. • Dress conservatively. • Whenever possible carry valuables and important prescription medications in your carry-on luggage. credit cards and other valuables. Contact your Embassy for detailed information. such as poorly- lit streets. Trains. • Do not leave laptops. you could run the risk of being misinterpreted and perhaps becoming a target if your clothing is provocative or offensive.2017. • Be sure to respond completely to requests by security officials and avoid comments about security that could be misinterpreted. State Dept. • You should also ask your company about specific transportation guidelines they’ve established for your safety. • Learn about transportation in your location—what’s safe and what can be problematic and when. • Avoid calling attention to yourself by wearing fancy jewelry or carrying other expensive items. fire and other emergency personnel.S. may not be so you’ll be well served to learn what is appropriate. report it immediately to the nearest appropriate Embassy or consulate. if asked. offers a wide-range of information to travelers of all nationalities: http://www. You may need to reach the police.state. subways.gov/travel/ Moving Around Safely • Always remain alert..com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. • Avoid disturbances and loud arguments. • Ostentatious jewelry will also draw attention to you. Attire you may think is perfectly acceptable. The U.

com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView. carry the card of your hotel or your address with you at all times--as well as your destination address.PrintView Page 43 of 44 • If you drive. . • Be sure to know enough of the language to call for help. give them your valuables—money and passport—and do not fight back.2017. • Experts say that if someone does attack you. • When you have a specific location you’re going to. 8.. Consider marking and tagging the pages of a phrase book with these types of important phrases..culturewizard. you may feel safer moving to an occupied car. • If you cannot speak the local language. Identify the location of the emergency alarm system. Get off if someone suspicious gets on. learn to use the local pay phones and keep change with you.S. • If you find yourself alone in a train car or compartment after everyone else leaves. ask colleagues or people who work in the hotel if there are things you should know about that area.2. keep your doors locked and windows closed. • Be wary when you are alone in lifts. • Make others aware of your specific whereabouts. and never pick up hitchhikers. even when you’re going to business appointments. Transportation Security Administration Settling In Accommodation Arrival Procedures http://kpmg. • Even when you have a mobile phone. Know Where You’re Going • Ask people in the hotel what areas you should avoid.aspx. *Sources: U.

2. 8..com/DesktopModules/RW3Modules/CP2014/PrintView.culturewizard.PrintView Page 44 of 44 Conversions Family Corner Health and Safety Media Money and Banking http://kpmg.2017.. .aspx.